German label Jack Wolfskin is one of the most famous manufacturers of products for outdoor activities and sports in the countryside.
Very popular in the European market, this company produces not the most affordable, but quality products characterized by an attractive appearance, modern technology and thoughtfulness. Over four decades of existence, Jack Wolfskin has had a huge impact on the outdoor clothing market as a whole.
There is a perception that the brand name Jack Wolfskin is named after its founder, but this is not the case. The founder, whose name is Ulrich Dausien, according to official legend, was a passionate traveler from a young age. The idea to create a brand specifically designed for lovers of outdoor activities was born during another hike in the wilds of North America, when sitting in the evening by the fire, Dausien listened to the distant wolf howl.
Jack Wolfskin is a tribute to the love of romance and the works of Jack London. It is from the name of the latter that the first part of the name "Jack" came. It is alleged that the idea of creating the brand came to the founder in the area where the writer, who was then still an unknown journalist, found inspiration for his famous novel "The Call of the Ancestors. As for Wolfskin, legend has it that sitting around a campfire, Dausien thought about how well a wolfskin protects its wearer from the vagaries of the weather. And he wanted to create a garment that would be able to offer its wearer something similar.
It should be noted that Ulrich Dausien, who was not sedentary in life, was interested not only in travel, but also in business from a young age. While still studying at university in the 1970s, he was actively engaged in petty trade. As a result, the young entrepreneur was able to save the amount of about 6000 dollars, which were spent on the foundation of the company SINE, specializing in sales of travel equipment. This was one of the first companies in Western Europe, offering consumers clothing for outdoor activities. The products were supplied mainly from the USA and Taiwan, at that time there was a clear shortage in the European region.
It should be noted that at that time various outdoor activities were not as widespread as they are today. And anyone who wanted to do this inevitably faced a shortage of even the most basic necessities. Sometimes you even had to do your own repurposing of things. Not surprisingly, the SINE advertisement of 1979 always placed a special emphasis on the fact that the company provided a variety of goods that could satisfy both ordinary tourists and conquerors of the Himalayas. Subsequently, when things got going, it was decided to create a new brand with a sound name. The result was Jack Wolfskin.
It is said that Dausien personally tested the products of the new brand and actively involved various hikers and mountaineers. It is said that Dausien personally tested the new brand and actively involved various hikers and climbers in the process.
As for the brand emblem, it was predetermined by the name. It was clear from the start that it had to be something wolfish. And the imprint of a wolf's paw suited it perfectly. Simple, beautiful and well remembered. Today it is one of the most recognizable logos in the outdoor apparel market. It was registered in 1982.
Unfortunately, however, the story associated with the logo was not very romantic in the end. In 2008 Jack Wolfskin sued a popular German newspaper Die Tageszeitung, also known as Taz, forbidding the latter to use the image of a dog's footprint on the logo. Although the newspapers had been using the "paw" since 1978, it didn't even occur to them that it should be patented. As a result, Jack Wolfskin won the case. And immediately began to prosecute other companies and various artisanal manufacturers who somehow used the image of wolf tracks, dogs, bears and even cats on their products.
But then the public intervened, and its representatives considered such behavior simply unacceptable. People were particularly outraged by the fact that a large company with a multimillion-dollar business was harassing and blatantly intimidating manufacturers of "handmade goods" with a penny income, who in no way imitated the brand's products. The media and independent bloggers got involved in the case.
The result was a massive boycott of Jack Wolfskin products, which forced the company to abandon its actions. It was decided that all such cases where there was a suspicion of copyright infringement would be handled separately. In the following years several more legal proceedings took place, as a result of which the manufacturer gained a reputation for arrogance, from which it has not been able to completely "wash off" to this day.
Initially Jack Wolfskin was just a brand of SINE, but later it was decided to separate it into a separate entity. Which in 1991 was acquired by the American corporation Johnson Outdoors Inc. specializing in outdoor clothing. The main thing the new owners decided to refuse distribution of brand goods exclusively through third-party retailers. The first Jack Wolfskin store opened in 1993. Today their number is in the hundreds, and most of these outlets work under the franchise model.
In 2002 Jack Wolfskin was sold again, this time to the investment company Bain Capital. In 2005 the brand changed owners again, and then again in 2011. A string of sales and resales followed, as a result of which since 2018 the Jack Wolfskin brand has been owned by the American sports equipment manufacturer Callaway Golf Company.
Despite all these misfortunes with the change of owners, Jack Wolfskin feels very well. The popularity of the brand is growing steadily, even despite the high cost of its products (which is fully justified, given their quality and functionality). And now, when the coronavirus pandemic has increased interest in outdoor activities around the world, we can assume that Jack Wolfskin will be able to relatively painlessly survive all the current economic difficulties.